Increasing global population and the resulting demand for resources has produced severe impacts to much of the world’s natural infrastructure such as forests, prairies, agricultural lands, estuaries, coastal landscapes and wetlands. Healthy natural infrastructure offers many economic, environmental and social benefits – including productive fisheries along our coasts, increased biodiversity, improved storm resilience, recreation and tourism opportunities, improved water quality and enhanced scenic beauty. Healthy lands also offer the most productive means for removing carbon from the atmosphere, placing it where it can become a valuable component of soils, plants and ecosystems. Caterpillar, our unmatched dealer network, and our customers are involved in complex restoration projects across the globe.
The global need for natural infrastructure restoration is staggering. The United Nations estimates that over 25 percent of the earth’s lands (an area approximately the size of the North American continent) are now considered to be “highly degraded” due to poor management practices that have resulted in deforestation, desertification, wetland destruction, severe erosion, and contamination. As the earth’s population grows from 7 billion to over 9 billion in the next few decades, restoring the health and productivity of our natural infrastructure will become paramount for addressing the growing need for food, clean air and clean water.
Caterpillar is committed to being a global leader of sustainable progress. In November 2015, Caterpillar hosted a diverse set of thought leaders for the Restoring Natural Infrastructure Summit. From the presentations and discussions that took place at the event, Caterpillar published a white paper titled, Restoring Natural Infrastructure: Strategies for Thriving Communities. The white paper addresses policy needs, advocacy and awareness efforts, the business case for restoration and collaboration as a means forward.
After an internal study of the natural infrastructure industry, Caterpillar launched the Natural Infrastructure Initiative in 2017 and currently leads the organization. The Natural Infrastructure Initiative (NII) is a group of companies and organizations working to promote the use of natural infrastructure projects that advance economic vitality, environmental health and security in our communities. The work of the NII is driven by key strategic imperatives:
- Help to grow investments and embed NII influence in active projects
- Develop and promote new tools, processes, and capabilities which support Natural Infrastructure uses and investments
- Advocate for policy and legislation which increases the quantity and accelerates the development of Natural Infrastructure projects
- Create awareness to support the benefits and uses of Natural Infrastructure
Caterpillar customers use our equipment to build traditional and natural infrastructure projects around the world. Caterpillar is committed to providing the infrastructure solutions our customers need to succeed.
In addition to the company’s focus in this space, the Caterpillar Foundation helps to build resilient communities that thrive in tomorrow’s world. As part of this vision, the Foundation focuses on infrastructure solutions that provide, maintain and protect natural infrastructure for communities and the people who live in them. To learn more about the Caterpillar Foundation’s work, click here.